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GISF Executive Director

Closing date11 Dec 2022
Downloads HR FM 014 - Application Form_GISF 2022 (218 KB DOC)
GISF ED_2022_Final Advert (228 KB DOCX)
Candidate info UK_GISF ED_2022 (187 KB PDF)
  • Permanent Position
  • Full time – working 37.5 hours per week
  • Salary: £70,000; Scale: UK 7
  • Line Managed by: MAG Director of Programmes / GISF Steering Group
  • Responsible for line managing: GISF UK and US Based Teams, 4 Direct Reports
  • Location: Hybrid – London, Manchester and Home

Role Context

GISF is an independent NGO peer support network established in 2006 to provide a platform for global security focal points to share experiences, knowledge and learning. GISF is dedicated to improving the protection of aid workers and operations, to achieve sustainable access to populations in need.

Recognising that NGOs need to develop expertise in security risk management in order to deliver aid effectively in unpredictable operating environments, GISF’s vision is to continue to grow as a global hub for humanitarian security risk management for NGOs and other stakeholders that impact on security risk management in the humanitarian space.

The forum currently represents over 140 aid agencies operating internationally, its members including development, human rights and humanitarian organisations. Over the past 14 years, GISF has created a centre of excellence that gathers and disseminates good practice in security risk management (SRM) to improve policy and practice. GISF collaborate with a range of experts within and beyond the sector to ensure a coordinated approach and maximise gain for the whole sector. GISF crafts innovative research, hosts original training and events, and maintains a ‘one-stop-shop’ for security risk management in the humanitarian sector through its online hub.

GISF acts as a resource for the humanitarian sector and other stakeholders, including donors, academics and the private sector to improve good practice and build capacity on humanitarian security risk management.

GISF is supported by its membership and is funded by the US and UK governments. The Forum is not a registered organisation, but an independently run entity, hosted by a Member Organisation, currently Mines Advisory Group (MAG).

GISF Vision:  Aid workers and operations are safe and secure to achieve sustainable access for populations in need.

GISF Mission:  GISF drives positive change in security risk management across the humanitarian sector through original research, collaboration and events.

GISF Values: 

  • GISF operates according to the fundamentals of the humanitarian principles, i.e. humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.
  • GISF takes a professional, member driven and collaborative approach to its’ work.
  • GISF aims to remain relevant to its’ members and the broader sector through continuous innovation and added value.
  • GISF champions inclusivity across security risk management and operates in a transparent, accessible and open manner.

For more information, visit: www.gisf.ngo

Job Purpose

The Executive Director (ED) develops and leads the strategic direction of GISF, providing the guiding organisational principles, articulating the strategic areas of focus and managing the secretariat to achieve long term goals. The ED is the project manager for GISF.

The ED is responsible for supporting and guiding the GISF team based in the UK (9 staff) and US (4 staff), to achieve their objectives enabling GISF to meets its strategic goals. This includes developing, implementing and maintaining processes and systems, including budgeting, that ensure GISF operates effectively and sustainably.

The role is responsible for ensuring GISF meets the needs of members (currently 145 organisations across Europe, North America and globally) and other stakeholders and must maintain these fundamental relationships. This is done directly as well as through close liaison with the Steering Group which provides guidance and support for developing and implementing the strategic goals.

The ED is the primary point of contact for external relationship development and representing GISF in external fora. This is both to bring external expertise and ideas into the membership discussions as well as to ensure the voice of members is represented in the aid sector and that good practice for effective and inclusive SRM is promoted globally.

GISF is currently undergoing the process of transitioning to a separately registered charity. This role is responsible for overseeing this process, including options of continued hosting/sub-contracting and maintaining donor relationships.

Job Description


  • Lead GISF’s strategic development, in accordance with objectives identified by the Steering Group (SG).
  • Ensure GISF’s working culture aligns with agreed values and aims.
  • Facilitate SG meetings to ensure the SG have the opportunity to develop the strategic goals for GISF as well as support the Secretariat to implement the strategic aims.


  • Manage the GISF Leadership team, working with them to allocate responsibilities, identify and resolve issues and ensure the GISF team (UK & US) has the support, resources and guidance required to meet its strategic goals.
  • Manage the Business and Operations Manager to ensure that procedures are followed, and standards are met, and that systems facilitate the agreed GISF strategies and projects.
  • Provide timely and relevant information to the Steering Group and team to support decision making and planning.
  • Proactively encourage team members to participate in GISF activities and provide opportunities for professional development.
  • Lead budget management to ensure effective spending of donor grants and safe management of the membership fee contingency fund to ensure sustainability of GISF.
  • Provide technical input on SRM for GISF events and research items to ensure relevance as well as to encourage original thinking and ideas.
  • Directly line manage four staff: two Deputy Directors, the Business and Operations Manager and the Research Advisor.
  • Lead or support recruitment for GISF staff.


  • Facilitate opportunities for members to input their views, needs and challenges for GISF events and research as well as to understand their position for external influencing.
  • Represent the needs of the members at external events and with external actors for the improvement of SRM in the aid sector.
  • Work closely with the Steering Group to ensure they reflect the composition and views of the broader membership.


  • Oversee donor and host relations, external engagement and member satisfaction.
  • Represent the needs and challenges of GISF Members at external events, for example SLT Oversight Committee, Humanitarian Networks Partnership Week, etc.
  • Create relationships to influence key individuals and organisations to improve SRM in the Aid Sector, for example donors, non-security humanitarian executives, NGO coordination bodies, Academics, etc.


  • Manage the Deputy Directors (UK & US) to develop and maintain relationships with existing and possible donors.
  • Oversee preparation of donor proposals and reports, including budgets.
  • Support the Deputy Directors to pursue other funding opportunities such as the Business Partnership Programme and Foundations.
  • Manage the ‘Contingency Fund’ from membership fees and other unallocated funding to provide ancillary services for members and ensure the sustainability of GISF in case of loss of institutional funding.


  • Work closely with the Board of Directors for the independent GISF charity and the current hosts, MAG and Childfund, the Business & Operations Manager, and the SG to manage the transition.
  • Ensure donor rules and restrictions are managed to ensure seamless transition with the consideration of different hosting options.

All HQ staff are expected to undertake the following general duties:

  • Work within the framework of GISF and MAG’s core values, promoting its ethos and mission statement.
  • Work towards achieving programme and/or department business plan objectives.
  • Ensure familiarity with and adhere to all GISF and MAG policies and procedures and keep informed of GISF activities.
  • Undertake and apply learning from appropriate training and development programmes.
  • Undertake the role in a manner appropriate to the cultural context and within the local legal framework.
  • Understand and uphold the standards outlined in MAG’s Safeguarding Framework, acting with due care and attention to safeguard the wellbeing of anyone that comes into contact with MAG’s work and reporting concerns if they do arise.

This is a non-contractual document that can be varied from time to time as circumstances dictate. This job description is intended to summarize the main duties and responsibilities of the post; this is not intended to be a full and exhaustive list of tasks. All MAG staff are expected to demonstrate flexibility and willingness to perform appropriate tasks when the need arises.


Essential Experience

  • Experience of strategic leadership, senior leadership, and thought leadership.
  • Experience of all aspects of and approaches to SRM by humanitarian, development and human rights actors, including critical incident management.
  • Proven experience of project management and finance management.
  • Experience of public speaking and presenting to a wide range of audiences, including at a senior level.
  • Experience in working with colleagues and contacts who are based off-site.
  • Experience of managing a team.

Essential Skills and Knowledge

  • Proven negotiation, liaison, and networking skills at a senior level.
  • Demonstrable knowledge and experience of working with NGOs or charities working in high and medium risk environments and their SRM challenges.
  • Capacity to prioritise, focus and manage competing expectations within a large stakeholder group.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Able to work flexibly to support meetings outside of normal working hours – with the GISF team split between UK & US sufficient time must be allocated to support the US based team needs.
  • Ability to monitor global situation and identify context and technical issues which will impact on Humanitarian SRM.
  • Identify topics for GISF capacity building and awareness raising activities (roundtables, blogs, research papers, guides, forum topics, workshops, articles, etc).

Essential Aptitude

  • A flexible natural Manager who is inspiring, empowering and has the ability to lead change.
  • Ability to think laterally and work with others to develop ideas for original events and research.
  • Initiative and judgment need to be applied regularly to make a direct contribution to improved performance in cross-disciplinary projects.
  • Ability to work diplomatically and sensitively in political environments.
  • Demonstrable commitment to GISF’s vision.
  • High levels of integrity and openness with commitment to good governance.
  • Strong resilience, keeping a level head, and taking a pragmatic view when faced with challenging events.
  • Willingness to travel worldwide for up to 16 weeks per year – this includes short trips in Europe as well as longer trips to north America and Regional hubs.


  • Experience of proposal development, with a knowledge of securing new funding streams and an understanding of donor compliance.
  • Understanding of charities/NGO accountability processes.
  • Prior experience in lobbying on humanitarian security issues.
  • Excellent written and spoken English, and proficiency in a second language (French, Spanish, or Arabic preferred).


  • Master’s degree in Humanitarian Studies or related discipline or equivalent relevant work experience.

How to Apply

Application is by an application form, CV and cover letter.  These documents should be submitted to gisf-admin@gisf.ngo highlighting:

  • How your skills and experiences match those in the job description as well as your interest for the role
  • How you see this role fitting into your future career plans
  • Also complete the attached Application Form. Your application will not be considered without this.

Closing date: 11th December 2022

First Interviews: 15th & 16th December 2022

Expected Start Date: Feb/Mar 2023

As this post is UK-based, you will need to show evidence of your eligibility to work in the UK. Further information will be provided when an offer of employment is made.

For further details: see www.gisf.ngo or contact gisf-admin@gisf.ngo


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